As news broke Tuesday that the Islamic State had posted a video claiming to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, the White House still hasn’t figured out how to take on the group in Syria.
“The president and his team are still working on” a military strategy for Syria, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at Tuesday’s briefing.
Earnest came out shortly before reports of the beheading emerged; he said he was not aware of the reports and promised the video would be examined for its authenticity. He noted the United States had tried to rescue Sotloff and offered thoughts for his family.
Republicans have become increasingly hawkish about attacking ISIS — also knowns as ISIL — in recent days. “The threat posed by ISIL should transcend partisan politics,” the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said Tuesday in a statement. “With each passing day this terrorist group grows more capable and the danger to the U.S., our allies, and our interests becomes more serious.
“The President, utilizing all levers of American power, must develop a clear strategy with achievable objectives and recruit a coalition of allies willing to defeat this terrorist threat. I encourage the President to communicate this strategy to the American public and work in good faith with Congress, including seeking proper authorization, to ensure these objectives are met.
“If the President does these things, I am confident such a strategy would find bipartisan support and that together we can act decisively to eliminate this threat.”
Republicans have been asking for a strategy from the president to deal with ISIS for months.
Earnest on Tuesday repeated his comments last week that the president does have a broader strategy to take on ISIS in Iraq, although not with ground combat troops.
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